(SEOUL, South Korea) — As American protesters took to the streets to mourn the dying of George Floyd, they discovered an surprising ally: Ok-pop followers.
Floyd died Might 25 after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for a number of minutes even after he stopped shifting. Ok-pop followers galvanized by police brutality and political disappointments swiftly mobilized, re-purposing their regular platforms and hashtags from boosting their favourite stars to backing the Black Lives Matter motion. They flooded right-wing hashtags and police apps with brief video clips and memes of their Ok-pop stars.
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In a tweet Thursday to its 26 million followers, South Korean boy band BTS mentioned it opposes racial discrimination and violence and introduced a $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter. Followers rapidly adopted go well with with the hashtag #MatchAMillion on Twitter, matching the donation after 24 hours in response to “One In An ARMY,” a worldwide fundraising workforce made up of BTS followers.
Even so, political activism isn’t precisely related to Ok-pop followers. Over time, Ok-pop followers have gained notoriety for overtaking Twitter traits and Instagram feeds. The unfastened community of followers mobilizes in a heartbeat — often to advertise new songs from their favourite Ok-pop artists or to place down their critics. That very same social media power is being repurposed to assist the Black Lives Matter motion, and BTS followers, referred to as ARMY, are on the forefront.
Chloë Gallot, a French college scholar, mentioned she joined ARMY — Lovable Consultant M.C. for Youth — earlier this yr when she “fell into the rabbit gap” whereas trying to find a distraction from the coronavirus outbreak and private troubles. A number of days in the past, Gallot grew to become one of many ARMY members to answer the #MatchAMillion hashtag, donating round $90 to Black Lives Matter.
“[BTS] are pushing us to make use of our platforms much more.” Gallot informed The Related Press, including that BTS followers, together with herself, had already began fundraising earlier than BTS’ donation was made public.
Ok-pop consultants say zealous activism is nothing new for the followers.
“Regardless of the stereotypes about boy band followers, they’re recognized for being politically conscious and serving to increase cash for charitable causes on-line, particularly on Twitter,” mentioned Hyun-su Yim, Ok-pop reporter on the Korea Herald. “Which is why it took many individuals abruptly when the fandom spearheaded efforts to drown out racist hashtags,” Yim mentioned, referring to Ok-pop fandoms clogging up U.S. police apps and flooding racist hashtags with their favourite Ok-pop memes and fancies, rendering them ineffective.
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Though Ok-pop has been common in Asia for many years, the rise of BTS across the mid-2010s has grown followers in all corners of the world. Nevertheless, that international growth has typically created stress throughout the business, spurred by a number of components together with language and cultural variations.
Korean artists and labels have been thrust into uncharted territories the place they’re compelled to take a stance on social points, drawing criticism from followers who say some points are too far-removed from their very own backyards.
Danny Kim, who runs “DKDKTV,” a preferred YouTube channel on all issues Ok-pop, factors out that Korean celebrities aren’t recognized to be vocal about social points. “The final notion of a star is ‘he’s not there to voice his opinion — he’s there to for the enjoyment of the folks,’” Kim mentioned. He additionally mentioned Ok-pop stars are sometimes certain by authorized contracts, holding them from making remarks that would come trigger friction.
Joseph Dorsey, a black fan from Chicago, mentioned he needs Ok-pop artists to assist the Black Lives Matter motion as a result of the music business has lengthy benefited from adopting “black American music and black American tradition.”
Kim thinks it’s time for Ok-pop stars to talk themselves.
“Ok-pop has develop into not strictly a Korean factor anymore.”